Ideal Landscape
     From the back-seat window I could see the dusty roads and the pale yellow of the burnt-out grasses. There were a few scraggy trees and cactus stippled by the deep red of the prickly pears, blue agaves stunted and abused, like failed flowers. The distant hazy sierra trapped the brown air that hung over the valley. It was a huge landscape, barren and neglected, the bare foundations of abandoned constructions emerging ruin-like here and there, the twisted and rusted rebar, melancholy, a dream abandoned. Passing dust clouds, ghosts of the land, interrupted the wretched stillness, loud with the metallic jangling of the derelict vehicles concealed inside. Occasionally I would see a figure, a straw sombrero, probably making its way across the valley. It seemed immobile, stilled by our movement, appearing for an instant as the fixed axle around which this world revolved. I imagined the dusty scabby road at its feet, the path festooned by old bags and rusted beer cans turned paper-thin through exposure. I could feel the weight of the tools in its hands and see the brief flash of our moving car as through his eyes, an incomprehensible and irrelevant apparition in the midst of nowhere. And this, I was told, was my country, my landscape, my very own prickly Arcadia.
I lived these passages in the fear that we would be stranded in this valley that swarmed with imaginary dangers: snakes nesting in the shade of rocks, the mangy rabid dogs running in packs or campesinos with their machetes, gone crazy on cheap mescal. I was scared and attracted by this desolation and the sense of menace that it held. My fear excited a desire to dare to traverse this pointless landscape and somehow overcome its unseen dangers and melancholy neglect. For a moment I wanted to approach this land, to learn the inflections of its topography, as if they were my native tongue, to feel at ease with its accents and declinations, its grammar and its quirky logic. But something about the scale of the place, something about its nature defeated me. How does one chart a void? Where does one head if there is no place to go? What is the meaning of possession? Thus, the instant having passed, I would fall back on the seat lazily and remain sheltered behind the window, watching my longing slip past me like a foreign picture.
This interior motion, the passage from proximity to detachment - this falling back on the seat- has been with me ever since. Unawares, I remained trapped in that valley, in that instant of yearning. Like any unfulfilled desire it made its way within me, and over time it scarred me with longing.
Years later and as if by chance I came upon the portrait of that yearning, an unexpected illumination: the pictures in this show. The characters, animals, vehicles and landscapes in these images appear like the tightly interwoven strands of a piece of fabric. The violent fusion of these figures with their land, in the very act of defining its form and its limits, embodies a hidden ideal of belonging. These photographs portray a binding between closeness and distance through the intensity of abandonment, persistently recreating my ideal landscape.

From Commonplaces II / Ideal Landscape, Galeria Joan Prats, 2003.